PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• A few years ago, my husband and I went on vacation to Charleston, SC.
While we were there, we visited Patriots Point and toured the Vietnam Experience Exhibit.
It was moving on multiple levels, but especially because Wayne’s dad is a Vietnam veteran.
One of the most powerful displays was called “The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall” and on it was displayed dog tags with the names of the South Carolina soldiers who had died during the war.
I was reminded of it this morning when I was reading Francis Chan’s book, “Letters To the Church.”
In the chapter, “Crucified,” Chan wrote of suffering for Christ.
This is a truth that many fail to acknowledge, especially as famous prosperity preachers tell people that Jesus will make their lives better and easier.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you already know my beliefs on this.
Prosperity preaching isn’t just unbiblical, it’s outright false teaching by false prophets.
We have to be diligent and on guard over that sort of thing because Jesus promised that in this world, we will have trouble (John 16:33).
It’s a promise and a reality of following Jesus.
So needless to say, I was in complete agreement with Francis Chan.
However, as he wrote about suffering, I was amazed at how many references there are to Christian suffering in the New Testament.
I’ve read them before, but seeing them in a single chapter was very eye-opening.
But I want to zero in on 2 Timothy 2:3.
It says, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
As I was reading this, I scribbled the following note in the margin of the book: “Soldiers believe in their cause and what they are fighting for… as part of an army of Christians, am I willing to go into battle, believing that the cause is worth dying for?”
Let’s go back up to the Vietnam board at Patriots Point.
There were a lot of dog tags.
South Carolina lost a number of their sons in the Vietnam War.
But those men bravely stood up and went to war, believing that any self-sacrifice was worth it.
And let’s go beyond the Vietnam War.
America has been involved in 12 wars, including the Revolutionary War and up to the Global War on Terror.
Collectively, 1,196,553 Americans have died fighting battles for freedom.
That is staggering.
So in 244 years of American history, that’s 4903 deaths a year for freedom.
My inner nerd just ran amok.
But my point is this: when we look at soldiers, we admire and respect them for their willingness to sacrifice their health and lives for the sake of our American flag.
We applaud their bravery to defend our nation.
And we should.
As I mentioned, my father-in-law is a veteran.
My grandfather was a Marine.
I’m very proud of that.
But what about us?
Are we willing to do as we’re told in Ephesians 6:10-17, and put on the whole armor of God?
Are we willing to fight for our faith?
Are we willing to count the costs as Jesus instructed in Luke 14:25-33?
And do we think the cost is worth it?
I pray you join me in a resounding, “YES!” to that rhetorical question.
Today, as you pray, thank the Lord for the example of self-sacrifice we can learn from soldiers.
And ask Him to protect our military personnel as they continue to fight for our freedom.
Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage you to be strong in your faith, understanding that the Christian life isn’t easy, but the cost is so worth it.